Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not. (Seamus Heaney)
August 20, 2014
Late August, given heavy rain and sun
August 19, 2014
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I travelled up to London during my summer holiday to attend a wonderful celebration of marriage of Robin and Sezgi Amos at St Mary the Bolton’s in Chelsea. It was a sunny day and I managed to arrive at the church early to catch up with friends. As I wandered around the church building I looked through one of the windows on the north side of the church to discover this shot of colour which really intrigued me !
I thought that I recognised the distinctive images of a Craigie Aitchison and indeed I was not disappointed. I am familiar with his work and a great admirer of the simplicity and depth of colour in his paintings and wondered to myself as I moved inside of the church how successful his work might be executed in the glass. Here are some of my pictures:
St Marys shares this information about the window:
‘The window, Crucifixion 2008: A Memorial Window, was created by the stained glass artist, Neil Phillips, following a design Craigie set out for stained glass. Craigie had been planning a collaboration to produce a window for the church at the time of his death in 2009 and the finished piece is a fitting testament to his huge achievements as an artist. Among those who gathered for the dedication were the Deputy Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea, Councillor Elizabeth Rutherford, and the President of the Royal Academy, Christopher Le Brun.The window was to have been Craigie’s first stained glass window in a London church, the city where he had lived and worked for almost the whole of his adult life. The project was initiated through Craigie’s friend and champion, Edwina Sassoon, who is a parishioner at St Mary The Boltons. Though Craigie sadly died during the discussions, the executor of his estate gave permission for the design to be adapted by Neil Philips after Craigie’s death, in recognition of his enthusiasm about creating an artwork for St. Mary’s. The window now stands in his memory for visitors to enjoy.’
This work, and incorporates familiar motifs such as his customary star, the Italian Cypress tree inspired by his second home in Montecastelli, and his beloved Bedlington Terrier.
The tree and dog act as Christ’s comforters in his final agony on the Cross.
A wonderful discovery -
July 19, 2014
O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists, that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!
Long have I known a glory in it all,
But never knew I this;
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fear
Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me,—let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.
Edna St. Vincent Millay, God’s World
July 18, 2014
the choir and music
Silence is a great blue bell
Swinging and ringing, tinkling and singing,
In measure’s pleasure, and in the supple symmetry
of the soaring of the immense intense wings
All the blue radiance above us and within us, hidden
Save for the stars sparking, distant and unheard in their
And this is the first meaning of the famous saying,
The stars sang. They are the white birds of silence
And the meaning of the difficult famous saying that the
sons and daughters of morning sang,
Meant and means that they were and they are the children
of God and morning,
Delighting in the lights of becoming and the houses of
Taking pleasure in measure and excess, in listening as in
Love is the most difficult and dangerous form of courage.
Courage is the most desperate, admirable and noble kind of
from Delmore Schwartz, the choir and music of solitude and silence
July 17, 2014
in a glass darkly
Though I spake with the tongues of men and angels and yet had no love, I were even as sounding brass: or as tinkling cymbal.
And though I could prophesy and understood all secrets and all knowledge: yea if I had all faith so that I could move mountains out of their places and yet had no love, I were nothing.
And though I bestowed all my goods to feed the poor, and though I gave my body, even that I burned, and yet had no love, it profiteth me nothing.
Love suffereth long, and is courteous. Love envieth not. Love doth not frowardly, swelleth not, dealeth not dishonestly, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh not evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity; but rejoiceth in the truth, suffereth all things, believeth all things, endureth all things.
Though that prophesying fail, other tongues shall cease, or knowledge vanish away, yet love falleth never away. For our knowledge is unperfect and our prophesying is unperfect; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is unperfect shall be done away.
When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I imagined as a child. But as soon as I was a man I put away childishness. Now we see in a glass, even in a dark speaking: but then shall we see face to face. Now I know unperfectly: but then shall I know even as I am known.
Now abideth faith, hope, and love, even these three: but the chief of these is love.
St Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, ch. 13, in the translation of Thomas Tyndale, with spelling and punctuation lightly modernised.
July 12, 2014
Intricate and untraceable
weaving and interweaving,
dark strand with light:
all spiderly contrivance,
to link, not to entrap:
elation, grief, joy, contrition, entwined;
all praise to the
Denise Levertov, Web
July 11, 2014
roses in sunlight
Our sense of these things changes and they change,
Not as in metaphor, but in our sense
Of them. So sense exceeds all metaphor.
It exceeds the heavy changes of the light.
It is like a flow of meanings with no speech
And of as many meanings as of men.
We are two that use these roses as we are,
In seeing them. This is what makes them seem
So far beyond the rhetorician’s touch.
Wallace Stevens, Bouquet of roses in sunlight